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Notes from Celtic Airs
With your host Steve Dieterich January/February 2002

A great time was had by all on November 10th, 2001 when Julee Glaub introduced us to her new album Fields Faraway. This was the first CD launch of the Celtic Airs concert series. Julee's friends and fellow musicians said this was one of the most exciting and enjoyable evenings of music in their varied careers. Based on what I've heard from those in attendance, this was a great night for the audience as well. We wish Julee much success with the album and her musical pursuits.
If you don't yet have a copy of Fields Faraway or need additional copies, contact Julee at www.JuleeGlaub.com or by mail: Julee Glaub, PO Box 4, Canton Center, CT 06020.
On January 11th, 2002 Karan Casey will return to the University of Hartford's Wilde Auditorium accompanied by Niall Vallely and Robbie Overson as well as her 2 year-old daughter Muireann. Karan left Solas in 1999 to start her family and simultaneously her very successful solo career, recently highlighted by her critically acclaimed album The Winds Begin To Sing.
Karan was born thirty-two years ago in the tiny town of Ballyduff Lower in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) area of Co, Waterford. She was encouraged to sing almost from the time she could speak! Lupeta Sheehan first schooled her in the classical Sean nos (unaccompanied) style of Irish traditional singing. At a young age, she was "adopted" by the folk-singing Foran family who encouraged her initial forays into local music competitions. Her style evolved when she discovered the giants of American jazz, Nina Simone, Billy Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald. The vocal nuances of the jazz idiom, her phrasing and a barely detectable syncopation, color her singing to this day. In more recent years, she has developed a close association with Irish traditional singer/ song collector Frank Harte. He is a generous source for much of her traditional repertoire and she dedicated her latest album to him.
She began her professional career singing jazz, pop and Irish traditional standards in pubs across Ireland. In 1994 she immigrated to New York City and was performing with the band Atlantic Bridge when she was discovered by Seamus Egan and Winifred Horan. The three joined forces with Irish guitarist John Doyle, then a member of Chanting House, and Chicago based accordion/concertina player John Williams to form the band Solas.
Solas toured relentlessly and released three fantastic albums between 1996 and 1998. Somehow Karan found time to release her first solo album Songlines in 1997. By 1999 she was tired of the road and ready to set off in a new direction in her personal and professional life.
Niall Vallely has joined Karan in both spheres. He is Muireann's father and an integral part of Karan's touring ensemble. He was a student a University College Cork when he formed the well-known traditional quartet, Nomos, now sadly disbanded. Perhaps the best of Ireland's current concertina players, he's also a professor in the Irish University system's Traditional Music department.
Robbie Overson is a superb guitarist, much sought after for recordings and tour support. His style and skill greatly enhances Karan's singing.
"Karan Casey has a voice of waifish purity and granatic toughness." (Washington Post) "She possesses a voice so beautiful, it's almost impossible to avoid falling under her spell." (Associated Press) "Her singing is one of the true glories of Irish traditional music today." (Wall Street Journal) Come see what these reviewers are raving about when the Karan Casey trio performs in the Wilde Auditorium on Friday, January 11th, 2002 at 7:30 pm.
On March 1st, 2002, Celtic Airs and WWUH are pleased to present the American debut of Na Dorsa, an Irish traditional sextet reaping lots of very impressive reviews in Ireland and Europe. Their first album, The Wild Music of the Gael, was voted among the top ten traditional releases of 2000 by Folk Roots magazine.
The band, based in Ulster, is only a few years old, but its members are veterans of the Irish traditional music scene. Flute player Desy Adams has toured the US and Europe with various groups including Deanta. Martin Quinn, button accordionist from Armagh, was a member of La Lugh. Tiarnan O Duinnchin is haled as one of Ireland's finest uillean pipers. His brawny yet eloquent piping style is a key element in the unique sound of Na Dorsa, much like Paddy Keenan in his early days with the Bothy Band. Guitar/bouzouki player Paul Meehan is from Cork where his skills are much in demand. He has performed with Nomos and North Craig, two acclaimed bands based in that city. Galway resident Paul Bradley on fiddle and viola is one of the foremost players of his generation. His solo CD Atlantic Roar has received excellent reviews from the U.K. and European press. The crowning touch to this incredible instrumental ensemble is Donegal singer Margaret Cunningham. (Reliable sources confide that she was beaten out by a whisker by Cathy Jordan when the lads of Dervish selected a vocalist for their band.) Margaret's voice and stage presence create a focus for the audience that only the best traditional singers can achieve.
Na Dorsa were chosen to represent Ireland at EXPO 2000, in company with Altan, Dervish and the Saw Doctors, fast company indeed! A reviewer of their performance stated, "Margaret Cunningham has the voice of a mermaid. The band performed a great concert fresh and shining like the green grass and sparkling waters of their homeland."
I hope you'll be in attendance to welcome this new band to the United States. Tickets for both the Karan Casey and Na Dorsa concerts are on sale through the University of Hartford box office 1-800-274-8587 or 1-860-768-4228. Stay tuned to Celtic Airs Tuesdays 6:00-9:00 am on WWUH 91.3 FM for concert news and to audition these fine groups that we present to you here. Proceeds of the concerts benefit WWUH radio. You can also help us by pledging your financial support to our annual spring fundraiser that will take place in early March '02, more details on that in the weeks to come.

Copyright©WWUH: January/February Program Guide, 2002

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